"I'm too proud to be nervous. We made the best record we could..." - hmv.com talks Blink-182 with Matt Skiba
When Blink-182 reunited in 2009 after a four-year hiatus it looked like the pop punks had put years of bad blood behind them and would focus on the future, but it proved not to be.
Despite the arrival of 2011's Neighborhoods the divisions that had riddled Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker would resurface dramatically soon after. Finally things came to a head last year, after months of arguing and delays, founding guitarist Tom DeLonge left the band and was replaced by Alkaline Trio frontman Matt Skiba, initially on a temporary basis and now more permanently.
The band's first album with Skiba, which is titled California and has been produced by pop-punk maestro John Feldmann, gets a re-release today, just under a year after the record first came out, with 11 new songs and a new acoustic version of 'Bored To Death'.
Back when the record first dropped we spoke to Matt Skiba about how they made it...
Your first album with Blink-182 is out today! How are you feeling ahead of release? Nervous or just excited for people to hear it?
"Super excited because I am super proud and can't wait to hear the feedback. As a Blink fan, I am honored to be on my favourite Blink record to date. I'm too proud to be nervous. We made the best record we could."
How was recording? Did it take time for you, Mark and Travis to get used to each other?
"Not really. We were working a lot in Trav's studio building up to working on California, so in that sense it took time but in the grand scheme it was great from the jump."
You worked with John Feldmann, what was he like? He’s known as a hard taskmaster…
"He was great. So positive and energetic. He put us to task but it kept everything moving and was integral to the immediacy and the energy of the songs."
What was the song on the album that took the longest to get right? And which came together most easily?
"We were moving so fast it’s it's hard to say. 'She's Out Of Her Mind' took the longest because we kept rewriting the chorus. The easiest was probably 'Built This Pool', though 'Bored To Death', being the first song we wrote and recorded, came together super fast as well."
Can you sum up the album lyrically? How did you find writing lyrics for Blink compared to your other projects?
"It was great writing with Mark and Travis. I love working with everyone for different reasons but I loved the lack of ego and the importance we put on the greater good and the unity of purpose."
Why did you decide on the title of California for the album?
"All the artwork and title came at the final hour. It was definitely the most difficult aspect of the record because we had so much great stuff to choose from once D Face (the cover designer) got on board. It just fit with the theme of the record."
"California means so many different things to so many different people so it works in that people can make up their own mind as to what it means. It's where all three of us live and we're proud and thankful of where we live and how we make a living there. It has a romance to it for us so I hope that resonates to the nice people that buy the record and hopefully dig it."
Are you excited to take the album out live? And how much of Blink’s back catalogue have you had to learn?
"I'm psyched to play it live! I had to learn about 30 songs of Blink's back catalogue, which was a blast and an honour."
When might we see you back in the UK for a full tour?
"We're in talks about it, but we're shooting for next year to do a full tour and hopefully some of the big European festivals."
Finally, how are things with Alkaline Trio? Is everything on hold until you get some downtime from Blink?
"Everything is great. The Trio guys are my brothers and are very supportive and proud of me. I'm a very lucky man. We played a show in Chicago for St Patrick's day this past year and I'm sure more shows will pop up. Blink is super busy so Trio is in a holding pattern but we're certainly not going anywhere and will record a new album and tour once the Blink stuff kinda cools down."